A stirring second-half fightback saw Sampdoria come from behind to earn a 3-1 win over Hellas Verona at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Serie A on Saturday.
Trailing to a fine Darko Lazovic freekick, the Blucerchiati endured an uninspiring first half but came flying out of the traps after the break.
Jabuk Jankto netted within a minute of the restart before Manolo Gabbiadini turned the match on it’s head from the penalty spot midway through the second period. The win was sealed late on as Morten Thorsby headed home and gave Claudio Ranieri’s side a comfortable win.
In a first half dominated by Verona, the visitors took the lead with barely a quarter of an hour gone. A cynical Valerio Verre foul on Kevin Lasagna prevented the striker from breaking clear, and Lazovic punished Sampdoria from the resulting freekick with a curling effort over the wall and in.
Meanwhile, Eddie Salcedo dragged a free header from a corner wide and Pawel Dawidowicz also squandered an opportunity from a delivery out wide, as Verona were comfortable in the lead.
At the other end, Verre latched on to a through ball and saw a deflected effort turned behind, although Sampdoria struggled to create and lacked a spark in the final third.
Sampdoria made a dream start to the second half however and were level inside a minute. Antonio Candreva’s in-swinging cross was met by fellow substitute Keita Balde on the volley, and his blocked effort landed at Jankto’s feet for him to fire home.
Just minutes later the pair combined again as Balde raced clear and squared for Jankto in the box, but the quick reactions of Marco Silvestri to smother the ball prevented an almost certain goal.
Verona sought to settle back into the match and Davide Faraoni sent a header over from a good position on the hour mark after meeting Federico Dimarco’s freekick.
With just 20 minutes remaining Balde raced in to meet a ball over the top and forced a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Adrien Tameze. Gabbiadini stepped up and tucked home the spot kick, putting Sampdoria ahead.
The hosts sealed victory late on as Silvestri came rushing out for a cross and missed the ball, allowing Thorsby to head into an empty net and close the gap on Verona to just two points in the table.